Abiba Salahou, MD, has extended been committed to public overall health and advocacy, never ever in search of or expecting to earn any higher-level recognition for her operate.

Having said that, Salahou not too long ago received the 2023 Excellence in Public Overall health Award from the US Public Overall health Service Physicians’ Professional Advisory Committee. She was officially presented with this honor at the Honors Convocation on May perhaps 11, 2023.

Salahou stated she was “shocked” and “honored” to acquire the award.

“I did not definitely count on it, just mainly because I know there are a lot of definitely remarkable classmates right here who do a lot of volunteer operate in the neighborhood and also do a lot of fantastic initiatives … any of us could have quickly earned the identical award,” she stated. “It was undoubtedly a quite pleasant surprise.” And I am particularly honored.”

“It was good to have some recognition that confirms how significantly I care about enhancing the communities I will be serving,” Salahou added.

“Receiving that recognition correct ahead of beginning residency was definitely specific, mainly because I undoubtedly want to continue that operate as a medical professional.”

She received an e mail informing her that she would acquire the award on the identical day as Game Day, which added to an currently fascinating day when she discovered out that she was having matched in psychiatry at Yale University.

“It was a phenomenal day, undoubtedly the most effective day of my healthcare profession,” she stated.

Addressing barriers
Salahou was 1st introduced to medicine although increasing up in Syracuse, NI. She accompanied her grandmother on trips to the medical professional to translate for her from English to Yoruba.

“It definitely shocked me to see firsthand the diverse therapy she would acquire as a non-English speaking patient,” Salahou stated.

“It got me interested in overall health care disparities and understanding why we have so significantly overall health care disparity,” she added. “And why issues like language barriers build such a large gap in patient care.”

Abiba Salahou was all smiles on match day.

In addition, she credits increasing up in an urban atmosphere with exposing her to disparities in overall health care. Salahou spent time volunteering with nearby refugee organizations in New York and Nicaragua although an undergraduate student.

“(In Nicaragua) I was capable to place the context of public overall health on a bigger worldwide scale and appear at all the issues I saw increasing up in New York and examine it to what I saw abroad,” she stated. “It solidified my interest (in medicine).”

General, she stated she finds medicine to be a field that lends itself to advocating for marginalized populations.

“What I am most passionate about is enhancing the circumstances and communities I see about me, as properly as raising awareness and shedding light on the everyday struggles and challenges that take place, specifically in marginalized and underserved communities,” stated Salahu.

“Medicine is definitely 1 of the most best fields to resolve this issue,” she added. “We’re uniquely positioned as healthcare students mainly because on the 1 hand we have that point of view, becoming members of the neighborhood ourselves, but then we’re also mastering alongside medical doctors and other healthcare students and seeing firsthand how the healthcare technique operates.”

Climate in OUVB
Right after Salahou graduated from Bard College with a bachelor’s degree in biology, she wanted to come across a healthcare college that aligned with her values ​​and interests, especially in neighborhood organizing and activism. She discovered that OUVB was a location that checked her boxes.

“When I was interviewing at healthcare schools, I definitely paid consideration to schools that talked about neighborhood service, wanted students to be involved and engaged, and wanted students to be involved in these conversations,” she stated.

In the course of an interview with OUVB, she was amazed by the initiatives that are in location to get students involved in neighborhood service.

“It definitely seemed like the concentrate on neighborhood service wasn’t just for show on (OUVB’s) web site, but some thing that had a higher priority,” Salahou stated. “Getting a student right here, it was so effortless to get involved with nearby organizations and get involved mainly because there are currently so several partnerships in the neighborhood … so I believe the emphasis and concentrate on neighborhood service ended up becoming correct.”

Salahou’s history of involvement in OUVB and the surrounding neighborhood is extensive—during her 4 years at the institution, she was involved in a number of student organizations. She joined the Psychiatry Interest Group in 2021, and served as the M3 student representative and investigation liaison. In this group, she established a investigation element of the group to involve students in the investigation aspect of psychiatry.

Salahou has been element of the Student National Healthcare Association considering the fact that 2020 and has served on the group’s executive board, exactly where she helped organize the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Overall health Fair at Chandler Park Academy Higher College and made a campus system to educate healthcare students about the challenges of faced by minority individuals and students. Other student groups she has been involved with and held leadership positions in include things like the Pediatric Interest Group, the Mental Overall health Advocacy Group, and the Family members Medicine Interest Group.

Outdoors of OUVB, Salahou has been involved in a number of neighborhood organizations, which includes the Lighthouse of Oakland County.

“I’ve been operating definitely closely (with them) to do a longitudinal investigation project assessing how emotional distress for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted emotional distress amongst meals-insecure folks living in southeast Michigan,” she stated.

In addition to that investigation, Salahou made a virtual mental overall health tool for neighborhood members.

What Salahou is most proud of is the get in touch with to action she made in 2020.

“I led an initiative to build a get in touch with to action, an anti-racism initiative at the healthcare college that consisted of meeting 1-on-1 with faculty members … and considering about how we can greater raise diversity inside the curriculum and greater raise our conversation about several challenges of public of overall health that I felt had been not adequately addressed,” she stated. “I also had a lot of assistance from my other classmates who had been just as passionate.

“(We) made a complete document outlining the strategies we wanted OUVB to address our eight core action products, which includes issues like enhancing the preclinical curriculum to increase conversations about race, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and issues like that, “, she added. “(A further action was) to raise the representation of diverse patient groups inside our clinical teaching … we also had conversations about rising racial diversity inside the student physique itself.

In response to the document, Salahou stated “quite substantial curriculum adjustments” have been produced, which includes new lectures in the preclinical curriculum and the creation of a get in touch with-to-action job force. She was also involved in the creation of a lecture audit report at OUVB to see how several occasions subjects connected to diversity, equality and inclusion had been described, which was then presented at national conferences.

Searching ahead to her residency, Salahou stated the identical values ​​that led her to OUVB led her to Yale.

“At Yale, there is 1 of the handful of psychiatry applications in the nation that is definitely identified for its operate on social justice and neighborhood mental overall health. Inside the system, they have a entire curriculum of social justice and anti-racism,” she stated. “It spoke straight to me.”

“I believe it is come complete circle…I really feel like I nonetheless pinch myself each time I believe about the residency, but I am particularly excited and honored to be capable to train there, and super excited to continue to be involved and passionate about advocacy for marginalized patient populations.”

To request an interview, check out the OUVB Communications & Advertising web site.

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By Editor